As a child, I dreamt of being a rock-star. I would practice only in the toilet. It helped that it was away from the main house, as no one would hear me. I didn’t make it as an engine driver either.
I ended up being a salesman. Or so I hope.
Today, I do Sales Training for a living.
It was Bankura, in West Bengal, and I was on my first sales training tour. Fresh from the USA, and an MBA, clueless about sales .The train pulled into the station. I expected to see Bankura horses all over, but there was only the steamy rush of a small town. Noise and mess.
I found my way to the little hotel where Shanker Sinha Roy, the territory sales man was to be staying. He was not there. Instead, I stared out of a narrow balcony to take in the sounds. Rickshaws and rubber air horns. So moffusil and so pleasant.
Next morning I went in search of the local stockist for Eveready. Shomeda, was surprised to see me. Even more, to know that I was to connect with SS Roy. Shankar had not reported in. So we booked a trunk call to Calcutta Sales Branch office.
S Bhattacharyya, (SB), the Sales Officer was in fact pleased to know that Shankar had not reported yet. He asked me to communicate a short message to Shankar. He was to take the first train back to Calcutta and report to SB.
It was a very anxious Shankar Sinha Roy that met me, the following day. I gave him the message from SB. Back he went to face the wrath of SB. A dressing down in those days was not subtle. Playing hookey from tour was not uncommon then. Or today. The penalty had to be paid.
At times, sales development lessons can be very telling:
It is hard to train a sales person!
Important Sales Development Lesson:
“If you can’t be at your post, be ready to travel”
Sales people hate to follow any rigid routine. They seek the loop hole and often slip it around their own necks. So don’t be surprised. Expect it.